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Link Major Tourism Spots for Longer Visitor Stays: Alphons tells Kerala

In Travel
February 20, 2019

VAGAMON (IDUKKI):
Kerala’s tourism merits major projects encompassing its major locations that must have enhanced facilities and scope for longer stay, Union Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge) K J Alphons Kannanthanam said today.

Given that God’s Own Country is among the country’s top tourism destinations, the state should focus on projects that sustains the segment, he said after inaugurating the Pathanamthitta-Gavi-Vagamon-Thekkady(PGVT) eco-tourism circuit under the Union government’s Swadesh Darshan scheme that supports communities, provides employment and fosters social integration while preserving ecology.

“Each such tourism spot must have all necessary amenities. They should prompt the tourist to stay there for at least ten days,” he said. “The union government is extending all cooperation to improving Kerala’s tourism.”

India has eight crore people earning their livelihood from tourism and related activities, but seven crore of them are not well off, the minister noted. It’s from regional tourism that the industry gets 84 per cent of its income. India’s tourism is growing at 400 per cent of the average global speed, going by the footfalls from abroad.

Kerala Power Minister M M Mani, presiding over the function, said the state was duty-bound to implement any central project under its area. “There is nothing like a central project and a state project in tourism; we don’t believe in such differentiation,” he said. “We (Kerala government) are looking forward the Centre approving more tourism projects in Kerala.”

Commenting on the project, State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts have vast tourism potential, which can be a vital factor in firmly positioning Kerala on the international eco tourism map. “The development of this eco tourism circuit will considerably improve tourism amenities in the area”,  Surendran said in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala Tourism Director P Bala Kiran welcomed the gathering. Other speakers included Idukki MP Joice George, Peerumed MLA E S Bijimol, Hindustan Prefab CMD Rajesh Goel, top tourism officials of both the state and the Centre, civic body representatives and leaders of various political parties. Kerala Tourism Joint Director K P Nandakumar proposed thanks.

The Centre has allotted for Kerala six projects under the scheme that began in 2014-15. Of the Rs 503.82 crore earmarked, the state has got almost a third: Rs 153.67 crore. Kerala has begun its work on three tourism circuits, with the PGVT circuit being allotted Rs76.55 crore. Of this, Rs 61.23 has been given.

The projects are being developed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and getting implement by central PSU Hindustan Prefab, state Public Works Department, Kerala State Electricity Board and Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation.

The PGVT circuit, linking Kerala’s south-east hill districts of Pathanamthitta and Idukki, had earned permission to start work in December 2015. The project was originally scheduled for completion in June 2018, but construction is on in Idukki, Vagamon, Thekkady, Peerumedu, Gavi and Sankarankovil.

In Vagamon alone, developmental activities worth Rs 41.86 crore are in the progress with focus on infrastructure development and adventure tourism. Four eco lodges are coming up in Peerumedu and Idukki (spending Rs 5.05 crore each), while Rs 72 lakh has been spent on the walkway at Ottakkalthalamedu.